Monday, June 13, 2011

Call to action: Do as little as you can

I think that many people don't do anything because they try to do too much.

We believe that Christians are a sent people. We believe that every believer experiences that inner urge to 'go' and reclaim the world broken by sin for their King... but why do we find it so hard to do? Is it just because we're selfish rebels? I don't think so. In the next few post I am going to detail what it is that I see that freezes believers up and keeps them from fulfilling God's call on their lives.

The first is simply that we don't think we can serve God 'out there' unless we quit our jobs, sell the farm and become missionaries. We create such big expectations for ourselves that when we realize we can't or won't meet them we get discouraged and resign ourselves to 'pew sitting' and passing out bulletins. Or we start getting out there and we realize that we have jobs and kids and stuff and we just can't do what we expected of ourselves so we get discouraged and go back to coffee and donuts with our Sunday School class. Friends, here's a challenge for ya...

Just do as little as you can.

"Awww" you say, "I can't believe you just said that." Doesn't Jesus say to be faithful with small things, didn't the prophet encourage Israel not to despise the day of small things? Friends, something is always better than nothing. By doing something small you begin to grow, it's not more than you can handle, it doesn't burn you out and in it you can begin to see the shape of ministry that God has prepared for you. Make no mistake about it, you ARE God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand that you should do them (Eph 2:10). God has work for you to do and it isn't just handing out bulletins and taking up the offering. It's redemptive work, kingdom building work, work that glorifies God and advances His work in the world.

Start this week, find a friend to help, meet a need that you know of, reach out to that friend you know is going thru a tough time, do something small, something good. Don't overthink it, just be led by the obvious around you. And have a blast God says, Go, eat your bread with joy, ...for God has already approved what you do. Eccl 9:7

If you have bitten of more than you can chew and want to get back in the game but don't know how... do as little as you can. You'll have a blast.


Friday, June 3, 2011

"I love ministering to the poor. I just don't want to, you know, hang out with them."

There's a hard rub in Crosswind style missional life. If we are going to throw our lives in with the poor... how far in do we go? I mean, we really love the poor but are we gonna have to hang out with them too?

Crosswind life is integrated. We have people from very different backgrounds together in the intimate settings of bible study, sharing life stories and just 'doing life' together. We can characterize 'us' into two basic groups... the 'haves' and the 'have nots'.

1) There are the 'silver spooners' who have never struggled and have no clue even what that means. Similar to them are the 'bootstrap bunch' who were born needy but took the bull by the horn and did the best with what was available to them and now have a lot.

2) There are the 'working poor' who make enough to get by and the 'struggling to survive' bunch. Now it seems on it's face that's a great bunch to put together. One can help the other in so many different ways. But as you can guess and if you go to any church on Sunday you'll see... it hard to hang out with folks that aren't like you.

What are some examples of the practical problems?

Well, when it comes to church camp one group can send their kids and the other group can't. For that matter, anything that costs a lot and requires discretionary income to fund falls in that category, including going out to eat and even the movies.

When it comes to the particular house used for the home group meeting, the 'haves' can meet together and the 'havenots' can meet together but if you mix em you are going to meet some tension. Even the meal that you bring can potentially cause tension... one not able to bring food and the other brings disproportionately more compared to if we were segregated.

One of the great areas of growth in our collective lives is due to this dynamic. The 'haves' find that their pettiness sounds almost harsh to the 'havenots'. The 'havenots' struggle with jealousy and regret. The 'haves' get bitter when their extra mile is not appreciated and the 'havenots' take and take without thanks and sometimes abuse the relationship.

And suddenly in the middle of it all, the gospel comes alive. The Holy Spirit quickens the hearts of both groups to love each other and there is a depth that comes to our lives and relationships as we walk life's journey together.

I believe this is exactly what the first century church felt when they laid whatever they had at the apostles feet so that everyone's needs would be met. Unfortunately in the church today the 'haves' meet together so there are no needs to meet and the 'have nots' meet together so they can't meet each others needs if they wanted to.

We wouldn't take anything for the growth that this experience is giving us. It exposes our hearts in community so that the gospel can bring the change we need. It rips and tears at our deepest sins and idolatry like nothing else can. It lays bare our selfishness and jealousy, greed and envy. And it allows us to be free. Free to love and enjoy each other and slowly but surely by God's Spirit and His grace makes us a family.

Yesterday, a great 'have not' friend of mine said, "I don't think I'll ever feel like one of you guys" and he let the sting of that settle in and then said "but I love you man, I really love you." That's enough for me, for now.